Full Obedience…Without Excuse

This chapter could very well be entitled Excuses, Excuses vol. 2

No matter how I may struggle with the command in the opening of our chapter today (1 Samuel 15), one thing we can all agree on….the command was clear!

utterly destroy all that they have and do not spare them

and if that were not enough

kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey

If there are any questions, it is not about what was said, but why it was said. Saul had the opportunity to be used by God to fulfill what was sworn by the Lord in the days of Moses in Exodus 17:14-16 and Deuteronomy 25:17-19.

The beginnings of the attack looked so good.

  • He shows an ability I wish I had, that of gathering and organizing a large number of people.
  • And a word not commonly associated with Saul in our previous accounts…he waited.
  • He even shows proper wisdom and mercy in letting the Kenites go, after all, God’s judgment and call was not upon them.
  • He even attacked the Amalekites, as the Lord commanded.

Such a good start, but…

He also took Agag king of the Amalekites alive…

But Saul and the people spared Agag AND

the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings, the lambs, and all that was good and were unwilling to utterly destroy them

Saul and his men obeyed as far as suited them. They did not obey God at all then, but rather their own inclinations. Is it submission, to submit only when it accords with my will?

I am prepared to obey the Word of God up to a certain point. But just as soon as “the best and choicest” portion of my life begins to be touched, how often I draw the line and refuse further compliance. What a challenge!

Just because I experience no guilt or shame in my disobedience, but rather perhaps even a sense of pride for my chosen disobedience (enough pride to “set up a monument for himself”) does not clear me!

My lack of guilt perhaps just shows the my conscience needs an awakening and my heart needs a fresh touch from God. To disobey God and make a monument to honor it…I think I know what the looks like in my life ;-(

How blinding pride is. Saul probably really believed what he told Samuel

I have performed the commandment of the Lord

How often my own rationalization and upside down pride has led to blinding self-deception!

And another question from this claim of Saul’s…if true obedience had been exercised, would it have been so quick to boast of it?

Just as lies grow exponentially, even so Saul’s disobedience provokes him to yet more and more excuses.
1) He blames the people, not himself

they brought them…the people spared the best

2) He includes himself in the obedience

the rest we have utterly destroyed

3) He justifies what he has kept because of the quality

the best of…

4) He claims to have done it for spiritual reasons

to sacrifice to the Lord YOUR God

It all made perfect sense!

Even as Samuel gives yet another command “Be quiet!”
Saul must disobey again, and pridefully say “Speak on!”

Saul will indeed see the Amalekites again due to his disobedience now (2 Samuel 1:8-10)
If we don’t radically deal with that which troubles us, it may come back and kill us!

For Saul, it was all about the people! Whether he was blaming them or hungering to be revered in their sight. His image, in the minds of the people, became his god and idol.

Saul and Samuel lived a mere 10 miltes apart, but Saul did not seek the advice of his radical, godly friend, until the strange situation in 1 Samuel 28!

Lord Jesus, enliven my conscience, give me ears to hear, and a heart that fully obeys. I confess some of Your ways seem radical and illogical, but I desire to be a woman after Your own heart. Search me O God, and try me. See if there be any wicked way in me, and where there is…help me to utterly destroy it!

A Few Notes about the War
This was not to be a war for plunder but for the judgment of God against the terrible sin the Amalekites committed agains His people while they were the weakest and most vulnerable, without provocation. Deuteronomy 25:17-19; & Exodus 17

(How thankful I am that the Lord has the same jealousy for me, that He desires everyone of mine enemies [spiritually, mind you] be fully overcome)

God’s judgment is not about plunder or a time of happiness or joy. God brought it reluctantly, and even afforded nearly 400 years for Amalekites to repent, and yet all Israel, following their king’s lead, treated it as opportunity to ravage and benefit.

God still judges nations today (though not everything that happens is a judgment), but He does not use Christians to implement it.

For Christians, the Lord made it clear in John 18:36 that His kingdom was a spiritual kingdom, not a political or a military kingdom.

Just as Paul made it clear that the enemies of my soul and the Church are not material, but spiritual in Ephesians 6:12.

We do indeed want to win the world for Jesus, but by through the influence of individual lives being transformed by the love and power of Jesus Christ one at a time.

So read this story with Amalek representing the flesh. To spare Amalek is the equivalent of sparing some root of evil, some plausible indulgence, some favorite sin, for self-gratification.

2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Trinka on February 19, 2008 at 12:09 pm

    I so appreciate starting my day with these blogs. I was thinking of the poem today:The dearest idol I have known,whatever that idol be,help me to tear it from Thy throneand worship only Thee.


  2. Posted by Deborah on February 19, 2008 at 2:52 pm

    Thanks for taking the time to read pal!Ah, Dear William Cowper.I can’t tell you how often I had to cry that song out to God, as that idol and I were like Pigpen an dirt!I’m sure Saul had another verse go through his head too, as he thought of the void that ignoring God and Samuel left in him:What peaceful hours I once enjoyed!How sweet their memory still!But they have left an aching voidThe world can never fill.


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